Last week’s blizzard — the most recent in a month of unusually heavy snowfall — probably played a factor in keeping theatergoers inside instead of out at Broadway shows.
But since the sesh is usually a tough winter frame on the Main Stem, it’s not certain just how much of the drop was attributable to the snow and how much to the dip traditionally posted in the wake of the February school breaks.
Still, legiters note that major snows always reduce Broadway’s week-of sales, which can often be a hefty contributor to the frame’s overall receipts. Last week, total sales fell around $3.3 million to $14.2 million for 27 shows on the boards.
That number is lower than the $14.8 million gross reported last year at this time from a Broadway slate that also consisted of 27 offerings. Attendance slipped to 74%.
Since it was winter-break visitors who helped push up sales in the prior frame, it was the tourist draws that saw the steepest declines of the most recentsesh, including “The Phantom of the Opera” ($515,876), down a whopping 44%, and “The Lion King” ($1,012,545), off by nearly $450,000.
At a large chunk of individual shows, shortfalls of more than $200,000 each were downright commonplace. Only two shows — “Lion King” and top dog “Wicked” ($1,353,808) — made it into the millionares’ club, an unusually small number, particularly since the Broadway League this season began reporting the larger “gross gross” figures (vs. the net gross).
In the good news column, “A Little Night Music” ($822,579) saw receipts shoot up by 69% as star attraction Catherine Zeta-Jones returned from the vacation that hampered the show’s B.O. the prior frame. Also up was the well-received revival of “A View From the Bridge,” powered by strong reviews and topliners Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johannson.
The Manhattan Theater Club production of “Time Stands Still” ($310,426), rumored to be a candidate for a commercial transfer thanks to steady traffic, held relatively steady, playing to houses at 94% of capacity.
Among other plays, “A Behanding in Spokane” ($413,686) posted solid numbers for a previewing play in a rough week. But for others — such as “The Miracle Worker” ($164,830), “Looped” ($139,174) and “Next Fall” ($99,307 for seven perfs) — attracting the attention of theatergoers was even more difficult than usual.